Saturday, October 11, 2008

Faith and Reason

I am really enjoying myself at YouTube! Although FSMDude hasn't responded, other viewers have left some very thought-provoking comments and challenges of their own. I welcome them because I always have the highest regard for truth-seekers. If someone isn't asking questions about their purpose, how life began, if God indeed exists and if He does, how it affects them - then they're living a very shallow life, indeed. I love thinkers!

A common thread in these challenges is how faith really can't be "proved." For those of us who are Christians, we know our faith is tried and tested by God in many ways. We are enriched by these experiences. But trying to explain this to an unbeliever is like trying to describe the color blue to a person who was blind since birth.

It occurred to me last night that there is a transition that we all take when we are "born again" into the Kingdom of God. We don't think of it as a complete rebirth because so many other things are occupying our mind. We recognize there is a complete shift of priorities, a new sensitivity to the things of God, a deep and unfamiliar desire to avoid sin. But what has really happened is that we stopped living as a citizen of the world and became a citizen of heaven. This is huge. Very, very huge.

(Caveat: Those who are Catholics are "born again" into the Church when they are baptized as babies. They are raised within the Church along with all of the instruction from Tradition and the Scriptures. However, many do stray from those teachings. In that case, when they return to the Church, it is seen as a re-dedication of their faith but still carefully pursued and not taken for granted.)

Those who are still in the world, who order their lives solely by the evidence of things they can see and completely explain - are separated and will never, ever understand our faith. It is alien to them and for most, almost repugnant. They can't imagine living by faith, surrendering their imagined control over their lives and embracing a "not-knowingness." This not-knowingness is what we as Christians have to accept fairly quickly. God doesn't give us a blueprint for life. He gives us precepts and guidelines. As we follow those, He unrolls the blueprint, one step at a time. With each step we take, we are trusting in Him.

The words of my father keep echoing in my mind - that faith is a gift. This is so true and I see the "evidence" of it the older I get. Only by the grace of God, given through the power of the Holy Spirit, can we see Him. Only by His grace can we understand His love. Only by His grace can we know His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a gift and not everyone has been given it.

This little experiment of mine, challenging an unknown young Canadian man to pursue truth - has enlightened me on how I must pray. Saul of Tarsus persecuted the Church and had scales on his eyes. How appropriate! Is it not amazing that God placed such a strong image of spiritual blindness within Scripture so we know what must happen in order to become a citizen of heaven? Of course... one must have their eyes "opened" to the truth.

So I do love to debate and discuss such things as faith and reason and love to delve into reason and logic and the relationship they have with faith - but when it really comes right down to it; faith is an issue of the heart, not the mind. For those who love their thinking, this becomes a very formidable challenge.

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